Betting company Tabcorp has been punished by way of a $16,500 fine and legal bills totalling $100,000 for publishing illegal advertising in NSW.
The company was sentenced at Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court on Tuesday after being found guilty of the offences in December last year as a result of an investigation by Liquor & Gaming NSW.
The offences related to ads which appeared in The Daily Telegraph on 28 August 2015 called ‘Ignite Friday Night’ and ‘Luck of the Draw’, as well as advertisements on Tabcorp’s website published on 27 August 2015.
The promotions could be accessed by NSW residents and offered bonus bets and other rewards as an inducement to participate in gambling activity or to open a betting account.
The advertising breached the former Racing Administration Regulation, which has since been strengthened within NSW’s Betting and Racing Regulation 2012. This prohibits licensed wagering operators from publishing any ads that offer NSW residents any inducement to participate in gambling activity or open a betting account.
In the sentencing hearing, Magistrate McIntyre imposed the maximum penalty of $5,500 for each of the three offences.
She said it was “crystal clear” that each of the ads was in breach of the regulation, which is aimed at protecting problem gamblers and would-be problem gamblers from engaging in further gambling activity.
The magistrate also said a strong message needs to be sent to other gambling corporations to make them understand that the gambling advertisements link the community to gambling, and that the community and vulnerable people have to be protected.
She said that while Tabcorp had contended that the offences were a one-off or aberration, she needed to consider the sheer number of advertisements and the fact they were published to wide audiences in The Daily Telegraph and unfiltered online.